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What's driving mums to drink?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 15:58 UK time, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

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A worried grandmother contacted us about her daughter's drink problem. We looked into it and "Emma", her 40 year old daughter, agreed to tell her story to The One Show's Anita Rani.


Emma is a mum of three. When the pressures of raising a young family began to take their toll, Emma's depression worsened and she began to turn to drink for comfort. She told Anita: "I'd think, well, the kids are in bed, my duties are done, I'm allowed to sit down and have a glass of wine". But over time she began to drink more heavily - and could not keep her alcoholism a secret.

Emma's mother attempted to seek assistance for her daughter, but struggled to obtain any help or treatment.

Out of desperation she then contacted The One Show. She feels that her daughter's story highlights a bigger issue - that many mums are misusing alcohol, but society is not prepared to recognise the problem. More than a million British children are living with a parent that misuses alcohol.

Where to get help

Drinkline - the National Alcohol Helpline provides a free confidential alcohol counselling and information service.
Helpline: 08009178282 (9am-11pm, Tues-Thurs, Frid 9am-Mon 11pm).
Asian language line 0990 133 480 (1pm-8pm, Mon).

Alcohol misuse - NHS website
Alcohol Concern.
Alchohol - infoscotland.com.

But what is driving mums to drink?

Virginia Ironside is an agony aunt. Her postbag is stuffed with letters from women from all walks of life battling alcohol addiction. Virginia said to Anita: "I think a lot of [mothers] feel very lonely. I think a lot of them are very bored. I think the stress of boredom is acute. And looking after small children can be extremely dull.

"It's now seen to be fine for a woman to be drunk... a boozy woman used to be seen as something utterly shameful. And now it's just what women do."

Gail, the addiction expert that Anita spoke to at Haringey Advisory Group on Alcohol, believes we won't stop mums drinking too much until we tackle Britain's booze culture. She said: "alcohol is incredibly cheap. There is a lot of targeting alcohol towards women and a lot of money spent on advertising alcohol that will appeal to women."

Emma has now stopped drinking. She said: "This is one addiction that I knew could kill me and it nearly did."

What do you think is driving mums to drink? Is this problem that should be recognised by society? Are you reluctant to seek help for your problem drinking? Add your comment.

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